Restoring Relationships: Fix Problem, Not Blame
By Rick Warren
— October 1, 2009
“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire” (Proverbs 15:1 Msg).
The fifth biblical step toward restoring a relationship is to attack the problem, not the person. You cannot fix the problem if you're consumed with fixing the blame. You must choose between the two. The Bible says, "A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire" (Prov. 15:1 Msg).
You will never get your point across by being cross, so choose your words wisely. A soft answer is always better than a sarcastic one.
In resolving conflict, how you say it is as important as what you say. If you say it offensively, it will be received defensively. God tells us, "A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is" (Prov. 16:21 TEV).
Nagging never works. You are never persuasive when you're abrasive.
During the Cold War, both sides agreed that some weapons were so destructive they should never be used. For the sake of fellowship, you must destroy your arsenal of relational nuclear weapons, including condemning, belittling, comparing, labeling, insulting, condescending, and being sarcastic.
Paul sums it up this way: "Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you" (Eph. 4:29 TEV).